Over the past 8 weeks, I have had the privilege and honor of working with an amazing group of young people. Jason, Eric and I worked non-stop on a production of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" with several LHS Drama alumni, and several LHS Drama students, and some members of the community. What started off as this small idea to do a summer show turned into this thing that became larger than all of us put together. It went from being a few people trying to pull a show together to a fully functioning community theater company. We all worked in collaboration with one another on a show that seemed too large, too grand in scale to take on in such a short time, and yet we did it. We, as an entire group, pulled together to accomplish something that most people wouldn't have even tried, and we did it really well.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I have to say that there are times in a person's life when they do something truly remarkable, something that sticks with you for the rest of your life, and something that you look at and think "That was so worth it". In my life, I've had a few of those moments. When I graduated college, when we bought our first house, and now there is this. This one experience, this 8 weeks of madness that brought together a group of people in a way that nothing else ever has. Everyone was invested in our success, everyone was positive and upbeat, and determined to get it off the ground regardless of what challenges we may face. Everyone worked toward the same goal, and no one tried to showboat or promote themselves over the good of the entire production. Some people had small parts, but there were truly no small actors in our group. Everyone was just happy to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and there aren't many times in life that you get to be a part of something like that. This small group of people became a true family for those 8 short weeks, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I think what I loved most, and what made this a real success, is that it was a collaboration. No one stood up and said "This is my vision, you have to make it happen". We all created the vision together, and as a result, we were able to achieve it together with everyone on board in equal measure. We helped each other, we cared about each other, and we taught each other. At the end of the production run, Jason gave a really nice talk about how each person brought certain unique qualities to the production in such a great measure that the rest of the cast and crew was left with no choice but to raise themselves to that same standard. Unlike other productions I've worked behind the scenes on, our entire process was calm, stress free, and positive. Sure, there were moments when people snapped at each other, but there was none of the overwhelming stress or frustration, or anger at one another that I've seen before. Everyone left the production just as happy as they started it. I've never had that experience before, and it was really nice.
Most of all, though, I am proud of the people who put so much work into something that started as a small idea. I am proud of the cast, who worked their tails off for a very short amount of time to pull of a giant monster of a script. I am proud of everyone who took notes, and direction, and never hesitated to try something new even if they weren't comfortable with it. I'm proud of everyone who made it a safe place for those uncomfortable people to try something new without risk of being laughed at or ridiculed. I am proud of the entire group for coming together to build a set in 2 days, and get that set painted in 2 days. I'm proud of the younger people who have never had a speaking role and stepped up to the challenge we set before them, and did it better than we could have ever hoped. I am proud of everything. I am proud of us.
So, despite what some may say to bring us down, despite what some may do to criticize the work that was done, and despite what some may think they have a right to dictate when they don't, I will say that we have done well. We have done something to look back on fondly, and most importantly we had a lot of fun. To my cast and crew, I want to say thank you for making this one of the best summers of my adult life. Thank you for being who you are, and who we became when we worked together. I can't wait to do it all over again.